Posts Tagged ‘skycatcher’

Skycatcher rumors proved true

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

At the last U.S. Sport Aviation show in January at Sebring, Florida, rumors indicated hundreds of Skycatcher buyers with deposits down bailed on their order as soon as the price of the light sport aircraft rose to $149,900. AOPA’s Jim Moore has looked at the records and found the rumors to be true. It appears Cessna is conducting more test flights and will have something or other to announce regarding the Skycatcher in two or three months. There are 77 sitting in crates somewhere, either China or Independence, Kansas. Cessna has no comment. In the meantime, Flight Design continues to hold the lead in sales of LSAs.

Light sport prices going up

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This Pittsfield, Mass., Aerotrek is headed into the January "Pilot." That's owner Bob Sullivan preparing for our air-to-air photoshoot. (Click to enlarge.)

Cessna Aircraft can hold down the price of the two-place light sport aircraft (LSA) Skycatcher no longer, and says in 2012 it will be $149,900, although many previous options will now become standard equipment. It started out at $110,000 and had drifted up to $115,000. At those prices, it was below cost. So much for the 2004 dream that maybe some of the light sport aircraft could start at $20,000 but rise no higher than $60,000 when tricked out. The lowest-cost LSAs are about $80,000, but have lots of bells and whistles. You’ll see a report in the January issue of AOPA Pilot on the full-featured Aerotrek at $78,000, and Pipistrel, a company gaining fame for its electric aircraft work, says it will develop a low-cost two-place LSA trainer.

Pipistrel proposed trainer

When the announcement was first made, the Pipistrel price in euros amounted to $83,000. Now, five days later, the Pipistrel price of 59,000 euros amounts to $74,800.  Great price, but the airplane isn’t in production yet. What to do? There’s always the used LSA market to provide lower-cost airplanes, and that is growing with the increase in the LSA fleet. In fact, you can buy the Aerotrek you’ll read about in January–for the right price. I’ve flown it, and it’s a terrific airplane. So do I have the money? Well, not at this time…or times in the past. Future times don’t look all that flush, either. Fun to think about, though.

Catching the Skycatcher

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

AOPA Pilot Chief Photographer Mike Fizer photographed Cessna’s new Skycatcher above San Diego Tuesday night. This was the last of two formation flights I flew with Cessna test pilot Dale Bleakney. I also did a review flight during which I got a demonstration of proof that the spin problem is fixed. Bleakney cross-controlled it (full aileron, full opposite ruder), stalled it, and was still able to maneuver left, right, under perfect control. Then he had me do it. No problem.

We had a variety of light on our air-to-air led by a Cherokee Six. Rain clouds, rainbows, lenticular clouds piled 11 layers high over the mountains east of French Valley Airport (45 miles north of San Diego), and finally, night.

Turns out the Canon 5D can also capture still photos in very dark conditions. His camera was mounted to a multi-thousand-dollar gyrostabilizer. When it’s running, the plane moves around it–not the other way around. You look at the camera and think it is bobbing up and down, but actually that is the aircraft moving around the stabilized camera. We’ll have articles out on the Skycatcher in a couple of months.